So on Sunday my ladyfriend and I have the honor and the privilege of attending the Goo Goo Dolls/Matchbox 20 (Twenty)/someone else show in the not-so-great state of New Jersey.
This will be our second time seeing the Goo Goo Dolls live and in person. They’ve been one of our favorite bands for quite some time now and the first time around was quite good … even if it was a bit heavy on subpar “Let Love In” material.
That show paired the Goos with the Counting Crows, who definitely seemed to have lost something over the years. Like most of their best and most beloved songs, as well as a hefty dose of energy, but hey, it happens. We all get old eventually.
Side note, this will also be my second time seeing Matchbox 20 (Twenty), and they were most enjoyable from what I remember of the first time I saw them. No, I wasn’t drunk, it was just many moons ago. I went with my parents. Soul Asylum opened and Semisonic was the second band.
Anyway, with that concert looming on the horizon, I felt the time was right for a little “best of” listing action.
But seeing as though the Goo Goo Dolls have a pair of lead singers with two different styles, one best of list just won’t cut it.
So let’s start with the Goos’ reliable, yet shoe-less bassist, the band’s former main lead singer turned mostly afterthought singer. Well, at least as far as the general public is concerned. I’ve always loved me some Robby Takac tunes.
For me, Robby’s raspy, grungy voice has always provided a nice little breather from Johnny’s more polished, radio-friendly style.
Here it is, the ten best Robby Takac songs … of all time!
10.) Strange Love- Let Love In isn’t one of my favorite Goo Goo Dolls’ albums, but this song is an top notch blend of a super-pretty musical arrangement mixed with Robby’s round-around-the edge vocals.
9.) Up, Up, Up- In a lot of ways, Gutterflower was the high water mark of Robby’s post main lead singer career. This is the first of several winners off that album.
8.) Happiest of Days- Robby isn’t asked to do a lot on the too-short new album Magnetic, but when he does, he hits it out of the park. This stripped down, mournful track is nothing short of beautiful, and listen closely to hear Johnny doing the old back-up vocal thing.
7.) Laughing- The Dolls were still a far cry from the radio-darlings they’d one day become when this song came out. “Laughing” is a straight up rock song that burns along at a brisk pace even for a Robby song.
6.) Impersonality- Love that 90’s alt-rock sound and this is one of the Dolls’ all-around best efforts in that genre.
5.) Tucked Away- More from Gutterflower. I’m not totally clear on what’s going on in this song, but I’ll be darned if it isn’t insanely catchy.
4.) January Friend- The first Robby song on the first Goo Goo Dolls’ album I ever purchased (as well as the third CD, after Barenaked Ladies’ Stunt and Eagle Eye Cherry’s Desireless), Dizzy Up the Girl. It was my introduction to the man and I’ll never forget it.
3.) Smash- The best tune off the best Robby album, Gutterflower.
2.) Amigone- “January Friend” may have been my introduction, but “Amigone” off Dizzy Up the Girl was what sealed the love affair. I love everything about this song, right down to the fact that it was supposedly named after a funeral parlor in the Dolls’ hometown of Buffalo, NY. I had visions of rocking out to this song at my grade school’s talent show, but I can’t sing or play an instrument so it never happened. But still, this isn’t just a great Robby song, it’s one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite bands.
1.) Another Second Time Around- Robby’s songs tend to move at a breakneck pace, never giving you a chance to catch your breath, but not this time. “Another Second Time Around” has a phenomenal arrangement. It burns fast at times, but there’s a build-up that’s sometimes missing. The lyrics, the guitars, all pure 90’s alt rock. Throw on some flannel, put “Pete & Pete” on the tube and turn on this song. A time machine couldn’t do a better job of taking you back to that glorious decade.
Stay tuned later in the week for the main event, my run down of the best Johnny tunes of all time!